Rising urban rents, created by urban development initiatives, especially in major cities, may cause some people to relocate to the suburbs or to seriously consider homeownership for the first time. At its best, urban development creates business expansion, solid social and community infrastructures and easy access to public transportation and public services. Urban development can also put restaurants, historic sites and entertainment within walking distance. Those are the pluses.
Zoning laws can also entice developers to raise urban rents, impacting your cost of living, whether you rent an apartment or a house. And you said that you’d never move to the suburbs or buy a house before you’d saved a hefty down payment.
Save money when you move from renting to homeownership
It’s not only rising urban rents that may cause some traditional renters to think about buying a house. Low mortgage interest rates, growth in large New England cities and an increase in housing values can also make buying a house attractive. Even over a short term, opportunity to pay a $1,500 mortgage on a house you could one day own outright versus paying $2,500 a month in rent that could rise in another year can quickly look like the smarter option.
To counter rising urban rents, empower yourself with housing price negotiation tools. Types of housing price negotiation tools include:
- Strong down payment (you may have to give yourself one to two years to save a good down payment)
- Good credit scores
- Flexibility regarding house type and location
- Rewarding money management habits
- Job stability
- Knowledge about housing markets
- Clarity around what you want in a house
The sooner you start building resources to use during housing price negotiation discussions, the more influence you may have on the overall price you pay for a house, including closing costs. Start early; be open to change and track your results.
Make yourself attractive to sellers and lenders
If you recently started a new job and only worked six to nine months at your two previous jobs, you may have more price negotiation power if you wait to buy a house until you’ve been at your current job more than a year. Signs of job stability can put you in a better light in the eyes of lenders.
Despite how long you’ve worked with your current employer, start paying debts down. For example, you could make larger payments on credit cards, starting with credit cards that have higher interest rates. If you have student loans in default, contact lenders and set up workable payment arrangements. Reduce spending on clothes, takeout food and other entertainment. Put this money in an account that you’ll use to grow your down payment.
Also, learn about current mortgage interest rates including different types of mortgages like adjustable and fixed mortgages. You could ask friends and consult local government agencies to find out what average property taxes are in areas you are considering buying a house in.
After you identify debts that you are going to pay off, where you want to live, the type of mortgage you want and the average property taxes in areas you’d like to buy a house in, compare the total cost of buying and owning a house to renting. Compare immediate costs, which would include the down payment, house inspection fees, realtor commissions and any travel costs, and long term costs of owning a house versus renting. You might find that it’s cheaper to buy a house versus renting, especially over the long term.